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November 6, 2003 Edition

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In a Nutshell

  • Sacramental preparation programs are reminders that the sacraments are at the core of what it means to be Catholic.

  • Christ always will do his part in each sacrament. Sacramental preparation helps us to do our part.

  • The goal of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults isn't just to "inform" candidates, but to let the Christian way of life "form" them spiritually.

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  •  Food for Thought
    The process of preparing for a sacrament is multidimensional. Take marriage preparation, for example.

    1. Pretty obviously, a couple shouldn't be passive at their wedding. They are decidedly active participants in this event! The preparation prepares them (as is true for parents at an infant's baptism or teens and parents at the time of confirmation, for example) to participate in an informed, active way in the sacrament's celebration.

    2. Marriage preparation is an opportunity to reflect on what makes marriage a sacrament. The same is true of preparation for any sacrament. So the preparation is a time to refocus on faith's value, to explore, ask questions, seek advice, share insights.

    3. Marriage involves more than Christ and the couple alone. As with any sacrament, the celebration is communal. Preparation brings the couple into contact with community members; this is a chance to view the community as a source of understanding, support, friendship.

    full story

    What Is This "Sacramental Preparation" All About?
    By Father Herbert Weber

    Catholic News Service

    I had just completed the third of three sessions for parents of children who were to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation when one of the dads approached me. With more than a little enthusiasm in his voice he said: "I get it. These sessions were meant for us parents so that we can better understand this sacrament!"

    The man's words reminded me that many parents, including those of good will, simply go along with church preparation programs, not expecting that there may be something in it for them.

    full story 

    Sacraments: Christ's Part and Our Part
    By Father Lawrence E. Mick

    Catholic News Service

    We can think of the celebration of any sacrament as an interaction between God and us. Both sides of the interaction are essential.

    In the Catholic tradition the importance of these two dimensions of sacramental celebrations has been expressed by two Latin phrases: "ex opere operato" and "ex opere operantis."

    full story 

    A Father's View of Sacramental Preparation
    By Daniel S. Mulhall

    Catholic News Service

    As the father of three children, I've attended my share of sacramental preparation programs.

    Technically speaking, the outward signs of the sacraments -- water, oil, blessings, touch, rings -- are effective, they make happen what they show. Thus, baptism actually washes away sins, holy orders makes one a priest. So, while sacramental preparation can help me better understand and participate in a sacramental celebration, it doesn't affect the validity or effectiveness of the sacrament itself.

    full story

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     Faith in the Marketplace
    This Week's Discussion Point:

    Describe your parish's baptismal preparation program. Who provides it?

      Selected Response From Readers:  
    Copyright © 2003 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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    This week's readings

    Week of November 9 - 15

    Sunday, November 9, 2003
    Reading I: Ez 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
    Reading II: 1 Cor 3:9c-11, 16-17
    Gospel: Jn 2:13-22

    Monday, November 10, 2003
    Reading I: Wis 1:1-7
    Gospel: Lk 17:1-6

    Tuesday, November 11, 2003
    Reading I: Wis 2:23--3:9
    Gospel: Lk 17:7-10

    Wednesday, November 12, 2003
    Reading I: Wis 6:1-11
    Gospel: Lk 17:11-19

    Thursday, November 13, 2003
    Reading I: Wis 7:22b--8:1
    Gospel: Lk 17:20-25

    Friday, November 14, 2003
    Reading I: Wis 13:1-9
    Gospel: Lk 17:26-37

    Saturday, November 15, 2003
    Reading I: Wis 18:14-16; 19:6-9
    Gospel: Lk 18:1-8

    Pope's Prayer Intentions

    November General Intention

    The appreciation of the spirituality and liturgical traditions of the Oriental Churches: That Western Christians may enhance their knowledge and appreciation of the Oriental Churches.

    November Mission Intention

    Second American Missionary Congress: That at the Congress in Guatemala, the Church in the Americas may be inspired to evangelize beyond its own borders.

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